Back in 2018, I edited a gist report on the future of justice which turned into a technology report. I wanted to dig deeper into social justice, but we needed to include everything. So, I focused on how technology is affecting social justice and allowed the linked forecasts to speak for themselves. The final report can be seen here, https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/jr/jt2-tmj2/jt2-tmj2.pdf.

Much of the report is about how police and other aspects of the justice system are currently using or planning to use automation to advance their effectiveness. However, these automation systems are illustrating bias. My key takeaway from the report is that algorithms are showing bias without it being specifically programmed into them. Where is that bias coming from then? Is the bias coming from the present justice system? How can we use technology to uncover and address bias?

Below, I’m posting an alternate ending. Originally, I summarized my analysis and provided a baseline scenario of automatically extracted forecasts. The links still worked last I checked.

I think this scenario shows one of the biggest strengths for Shaping Tomorrow–getting a baseline scenario with one single search. It isn’t always that easy with every subject, but it can certainly save several hours of research.

A Baseline Scenario

A collection of Forecasts from four different sources has been selected that all appear to point toward the same baseline scenario for the legal industry. These Forecasts have been arranged in order of the significance of their implications. The key question from this baseline, how would such a scenario affect the justice system at large? How would the needs of clients be met more easily under this scenario? How might justice be subverted?

  1. Attorneys will get their work from online platforms, not law firms in the traditional sense. These platforms will unbundle and productize legal services faster than law firms can themselves, while also drastically improving the client experience.
    1. These services may range from 24/7 emergency access to a lawyer within 15 minutes to having a lawyer prepare a will, pre-nuptial or divorce paperwork from a questionnaire completed on a mobile app.
  2. The whole legal industry is headed towards the direction of building individual brands than just joining a firm. Thanks to the democratization of technology, you’ll start to see more independent lawyers build brands bigger than the largest law firms on earth.
    1. Lawyers will wake up, look at their future device, and get notified of various projects and contracts that are tailored to them based on their skill-set and social connections. They’ll pick one or a few based on how much they’re getting paid, its impact on their future reputation, and after completing the project, they’ll get ranked and rated on their performance.
  3. Lawyers will shift their focus from routine activities to much more high-value work involved in shaping strategies and navigating complex legal problems.
    1. A lawyer’s encyclopedic knowledge of cases may be less important than their ability to analyze data and operate legal software.
  4. Law firms will gradually move toward flat rate subscription pricing.
    1. Consumers will dismiss hourly rates, refuse to “pay and pray” and demand nothing less than comprehensive services where the focus is on a relationship, not a transaction.
  5. Law firms will employ coders to manage their tech systems and customer satisfaction managers to provide concierge-level attention to clients.
    1. There will be fewer traditional lawyers in law firms as non-lawyer roles grow alongside greater use of technology and alternative career options.

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